Popular magazines create a special edition at the conclusion of each year to honor well-known individuals who have died during the year. I commiserate, along with the general public, over the loss of those individuals that I remember with fondness. The writer and director, Norah Ephron, is one individual for whom the world of “Chick Flicks” will feel a tremendous loss. Ephron was known for many timeless films, such as When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle. The astute manner in which she captures the climate and culture of contemporary society is so vividly portrayed in Julie & Julie (2009). Initially, I was far more intrigued with the relationship between Julia and Paul. I paid relatively little attention to Julie Powell’s rise to fame through her blog. Now that I have become an “official” blogger with a following or two or three (insert sarcasm here) I am intrigued with this concept. I revisited the film in order to look more closely at the concept of blogging and its implications for social interaction and communication.
Julie Powell feels lost as she approaches her 30th birthday. A luncheon date with old college friends leads her to question the direction of her life. The conversation goes something like this-
Julie: (to Eric) Oh, did I tell you that my friend Annabelle is writing a blog?
Eric: A blog about what?
Julie: A blog about every stupid, insipid thought that runs through her brain.
(Julia points at Eric with a chef’s knife declaring…)
Julia: I could write a blog. I have thoughts…
Eric: What’s great about blogs is that you can be published. You can go on-line with a press…
And thus the idea for her blog begins. I found Powell’s Julie/Julia Project, through Internet Archive Wayback Machine, which she began in August 2002. Amazing…where was I when the world of blogging became popular? How was I so totally unaware that something new had occurred in the world of technology? Oh, yes, I worked full-time and had a new home and baby. Certainly, these excuses are the most plausible reasons that I can create at the moment. Honestly, I had never heard of the word “Blog” until several years ago and knew of no one, outside of celebrities or writers who created one. What the character Eric intimates as a simple act,the pressing the publish button, instills the greatest fear within me. When you’re out there you’re out there,yes? The digital footprint leaves yet another mark in cyberspace. Of, course, I can always edit, but what if I don’t catch grammatical errors? What if my word choice is poor and my writing is littered with colloquialisms? I realize that I am probably the harshest critic of my own writing.
One component of the Adlt 601 course is to conduct the Kolb Learning Style Inventory. While equally balanced between Experiencing and Thinking, I was rather low in terms of Reflecting. The nature of my former work left relatively little time to spend in reflection. Imagine passing a room during a teacher’s planning period only to find the teacher staring out the window! It just doesn’t happen. The day is so full of activity. A knock on the door, the ring of the telephone and the continual interruption of the day with minutiae means that as a teacher I moved continuously between one activity and another. I find that the reflective act of blogging for the Adult Learning program allows topics of discussion from class to swirl around in my head. Blogging is a contemporary medium way in which to grapple with the way in which to place meaning and concrete experience together.
This last thought has led me to consider the concept of “Blogging Events.” Again, another new concept for me. I first saw it last week when a Twitter feed from Monticello was posted. The first Blogger conference was held on September 14 as the Heritage Harvest Festival 2012 was underway. What was this all about? A little bit of searching on my part unveiled what transpired as one blogger recounted her experience in The Smart Kitchen Blog. I am curious as to how this event unfolded. I retweeted using the hashtag #HHF12, and am anxiously awaiting a reply from either the foundation or the writer of the blog. (or both if I am lucky!)
Is it any surprise that food narratives inspire writer’s to create food blogs and for blogging events to coincide with the release of this film? Is it any wonder that a blogging event transpired at the home of Thomas Jefferson, who is considered to be American’s first foodie? What is a wonder for me is how an individual learns about and is invited to participate in an event.
When the discussion of “dead blogs” was mentioned during class last week, I noticed several head’s nodding along with mine. I recognized my dead blog during the vanity search activity and quickly passed over it. I wasn’t prepared to confront this unfinished project. The effort to create any blog at all can’t be underestimated, which is why the blog will sit until I have the energy and/or the motivation to add to it. Modifications are necessary, but deletion is not even a thought that I would entertain. The time necessary to apply Wallace’s DEAR concept means thinking and reading between one blog and the next about Digital Learning for adults. Where does writing about personal interests fit in this time scheme? During vacation between semesters, I suppose.
I have many ideas for future blog entries that are of interest to me. A well-rounded, liberal arts education today must surely mean learning how to infuse digital learning and media into all forms of learning, both formal and informal. One never knows where a conversation will begin and where it will go. I found a new blog to explore while waiting for Peter Hatch to sign his new book, A Rich Spot on Earth. The other woman, a master gardener from Maryland and I began chatting. Our conversation traveled effortlessly from gardening to blogging and to the possibility of social media during the time of TJ, as we affectionately refer to him in Cvill. If he were alive and active today I would imagine him to be a prolific blogger with a wealth of topics waiting to blog! I left feeling upbeat and positive about the day. I had two more blogs to cache for future consideration.